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Essential Gesture

Lesson 4 from: Introduction to Figure Drawing: Essential Gesture & Structure

Amy Wynne

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Lesson Info

4. Essential Gesture

Let’s condense 20 minutes of drawing into only 5 minutes! This lesson is a wealth of knowledge that will help you feel confident when using ink and brush.
Next Lesson: Layered Gesture

Lesson Info

Essential Gesture

essential gesture is, to me, one of the most important parts of the figure drawing process by essential gesture. I basically mean the energy flowing through the body, the tension, the weight, the balance as the bodies moving through space, tracking that gestural motion is what really gives drawings their energy and their beauty. So what we're gonna work with in this section of this course is really tracking that energy in a very direct, very physical way. As an example of what I'm talking about before we move into this. If we look at this prude um drawing, we can see that the body is not straight up and down, that there's a bit of a curvature to the pose. And if I put this overlay on it, this red s curve is what I'm talking about. It's the energy moving from head through the spine, through the tilt of the hips all the way down to the ground. I feel like you need to really feel the pose to draw the pose well. And so that's what we're after here. So with our model Sarah, I'm going to tak...

e us through A series of about 30 drawings in a very short period of time. And these 30 drawings are going to be tracking the body first with a very bright piece of pastel. I chose this bright piece of pastel to emphasize just the core gesture to sort of show you what that looks like. And then from there we're going to be sort of playing um name that pose in one mark, two marks, three marks, four marks and five marks. Each drawing getting a little bit more um complex but we're gonna be using a big brush with ink and so it's going to be very direct and it's going to build your bravery to just jump in. So let's get started. So we're gonna start with just some one line drawings where what you're going to be seeing is me tracing what I'm feeling in terms of the essential gesture of the body. Sarah's gonna take a pose and actually I'm going to take the pose as well. I know that sounds a little funny but you know, so Sarah's got her hand on her hip, see if I can mirror it. I'm just gonna go like this and um and one hand down, one hand up and toe pointed to the front. I'm taking the pose because in doing so I'm actually feeling where the weight is falling. I'm feeling actually a little bit of what she's feeling in her body and that's helping me understand the energy. So that's actually a really great practice that you can do is if you're starting figure drawing, it might feel a little weird at first, but you can actually take the pose, there's no rules against that. Um And it can help you establish an understanding, like almost an intuitive understanding of what's going on in the body and that's what we really want to relay with these drawings. Okay, I've got my pick chuck. Alright let's get started. Alright, so in this particular pose, it's sort of beyond thinking really? I'm not really trying to intellectualize it. I'm just trying to put a mark down through the spine, down to the weight bearing foot, a one line gesture drawing. Alright, let's try another one. Great. So now I'm coming down from the head through the body, back down again to this leg. Great. Let's try another one. Super. So see the way it's so beautiful the way that the spine is shifting around and then I can come all the way down to the back foot to that. He'll just an energetic mark tracing the tension in the body. Let's try another one. Great. So coming down through the spine again out to the hip and then way I feel the energy coming way out to that front foot. Beautiful. And let's try one more. Great. Yeah. So tilt to the spine coming back and the energy to me is coming back through that back foot and planting on the ground. Super. So five very beautiful poses. And all I was doing is really with this tracking what's happening through the core of the body. So a little warm up, brightly colored because it is about energy. So now we're gonna move into working in this way but with ink and I'm not talking about a little bit pen, I'm talking about a saucy brush full of ink and one of the reasons that I really feel like this is an important practice is because using ink in this way, you're not timid. You know when you're trying something new, sometimes you kinda want to hide behind the mark, like you can't be timid, it's gonna drip, it's gonna sort of spill and you're just tracking the body and you're not able to erase and you're not able to hide. And I'm also going to be working at the scale of the page, so that again, we're not making tiny, tiny figures, like we're really trying to feel the body with our body, We're drawing body with your own body. I'm not sitting on a stool, I'm standing to work. Alright, so we're gonna do five sets of five poses, just one after the next, the first set. I'm gonna try to name that pose with one line, the second set, I'm gonna name that post with two lines and so on. So the pages will get more complicated but it's really just simplified almost stick figures. Just trying to track along. This is a really exciting practice. So let's get started with that. Okay, I've got my brush, I've got my ink and I'm I have my ink in a jar, you could put ink in a cup, you could do it the way you want. I've got a pretty large brush. So when I put this in it's gonna soak up a fair amount of ink because I don't want it to run out as I'm making these marks on the page. I'm actually gonna also hold my brush rather than like choking up on it like a pencil. I'm gonna hold my brush in this way so that I'm able to actually use my wrist in my arm to to work and and sort of loosen up my upper body that way. All right. You ready Sarah. Okay so we're gonna do a series of 51 line drawing similar to what we just did. But now with a very bold ink. Okay here we go. All right, first one. Alright. One line shift. So I'm coming down through the core of the body and then out to the foot. Just one continuous line. Beautiful shift. Great coming through the spine I think about coming through the spine and then all the way out to the foot that stretched towards me. Let's try another one. Great. And then coming through the curve of the body and then down to the weight bearing foot. Great. And let's try one more one line drawing. Great. That's beautiful coming through down all the way out awesome. Alright so we're gonna take a very short shift to the paper. But that rhythm, that fluidity and that boldness is such an amazing way to enter into this practice. So now we're gonna try, we graduated, we graduated to two line drawings. And again these are gesture drawings. Just trying to track the essential motion of the body in ink. Alright so poses are still gonna be just about the same length but we're gonna get a chance to put a secondary line. That secondary line still the key line is still the essential gesture. Always think of those pink lines. But now we might put like an arm or maybe like the other leg down just to kind of build a little bit. So the first line I put down is always gonna be the core gesture and we'll take it from there. All right, we can start when you're ready. Great. So through core line through the body all the way down to the ground and then maybe one more line for the foot. two Line drawing. All right, shift. Great. Alright, again, core gesture first, that's the most important thing. All the way down to the ground and then maybe a second line for the other leg. Beautiful shift. Great. You can just see this beautiful diagonal coming down all the way down to the back foot and then maybe a second line would be here for this foot. Great. And shift awesome. So flowing through down to the front leg and then maybe the back leg. Beautiful. And one last two line drawing, great. One leg out to the side and then the other one coming down. Beautiful. Alright, we've graduated to three lines. Notice how this page gets a little bit more full, a little bit more complicated but it's still just using two essential lines. I'm not worrying about the ink dripping, I'm just having a good time. I'm just tracking our wonderful model and I'm loosening up. I'm warming up in this way. Alright, now we get to move to three lines. So the third line again, first line, so important. Essential gesture. Second line might be a leg and then the third line might be a gestural arm. It depends it depends on the post. All right, let's go three line drawing. Still. The first line is always this core gesture coming all the way down to the ground. Second line might be this back leg and third line. I'm gonna go for that arm. All right, let's shift. Great. So, coming down the body all the way back down to the back leg. I just feel that curve. Second line might be the front leg here, and then third line might be the arm coming up. Great shift. Alright, so first line coming down, I like to come down through this foot on the left, second line coming down to here, and then third line up and over. Great shift. Great nice twist here through the spine, sort of imagining what the spine is doing, coming down to the foot and the back then bringing in another foot to the front and then perhaps the arm that's coming towards me. Great. And then one last three line drying great through the core, down to the leg, the other leg crossed in the back and then maybe an arm out to the front. Super. Alright, so three line drawing, and you can just see how just adding one more limb can start to create even more, sort of an energetic feel of the pose, you just start to get a little bit more of a sense of it. So we're graduating to four lines now and these are really more like stick figures, elaborate stick figures, they might start occupying your floor, you know, you can just sort of rip them down and keep the flow going. Alright, four line drawings, Here we go, Great! Alright, first line is still the key, the essential core gesture. 2nd line, maybe a weight bearing another weight bearing leg and then three and now we get four. Fabulous! Alright, let's try another. Oh yeah, so feel that stretch through the front of the body all the way down to the back leg coming down with the front leg balancing leg, and then this wonderful arm up to one side and arm up to the other side. Great shift right coming down to the curve of the spine, way way back to that back leg, front leg coming down almost 45 degree angle and then we get we get a line for the front arm and we get a line for the back arm. Beautiful. Just two more four line drawings, alright, curve of the spine again coming down. So it's almost like, you know the first line is the star of the show. And then the second line is like best supporting actress, right? And you're kind of working three and four as you go along. All right. One more and one last four line drawing. I love making these. I'm splashing ink everywhere. That's fun. It's great. It's very liberating. We don't want to get caught up in too much thinking. Yeah, great. And it actually ends up being kind of a wonderful abstract configuration on the page. It's really tracking motion, you can feel the movement in the gesture. All right, we're gonna do one last series of five and this one is five lines and you'd be amazed. You might think well how could I ever just use five lines to make a drawing of the figure. But you might be amazed that like you can actually distill it to that kind of simplicity. Alright. Five more. Here we go. Great. So first line is still super important, like the most important thing. 2nd line might be a balancing foot 3rd line, extended arm, 4th line, another arm and 5th line we might be able to add a head. Great. Alright, super. Alright. I'm always looking for what the spine is doing and then maybe where the weight's falling and then coming into the second line, some sense of balance. Third line, what's the arm doing? Fourth line maybe what's the other arm doing And then fifth might just be starting to think about the position of the head. Great shift, awesome. Alright again through the spine, Down, down, all the way down to the ground again, you can always take the pose if you're not really sure you know what's happening energetically, you'll definitely feel it when you move into it with your own body. Alright let's do two more Great one Line all the way down to the ground. Two line balancing leg, three lines coming out to the right, four lines going out to the left, five lines maybe finding ahead and one last one great one line coming down to the knee and out to the foot. You just have to feel it. I mean I'm working so quickly. I'm really not thinking about it because once you start thinking about it you start to close down and we really want it to be done with feeling beautiful. Thank you Sarah. So these drawings, these energetic drawings, they just drip down the page, you know it's about bravery, it's about searching, it's about moving and finding with your body. It's about using a tool that you can't hide behind. This is how you begin this sort of energy, This sort of essential core gesture. Just trying to find that is the gateway to making energetic beautiful figure drawings

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Figure Drawing Materials
Essential Gesture
Constellation & Joints Reference
Core Volumes
Core Volumes Twist

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